Hol­ly­wood must end its fix­a­tion with beauty, says top direc­tor

The Observer - - News - Dalya Al­berge

Hol­ly­wood may be mak­ing in­roads into cre­at­ing big­ger and bet­ter roles for women and black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic ac­tors – but there is one taboo that the film world stub­bornly fails to ad­dress, ac­cord­ing to one of its most prom­i­nent fe­male di­rec­tors.

“Looks are more a taboo than gen­der and race,” said Su­sanne Bier, who gripped au­di­ences with thriller The Night Man­ager, and is among the few fe­male di­rec­tors to have re­ceived an Os­car, a Golden Globe and an Emmy.

She strug­gled to con­vince stu­dio heads when she wanted to cast ac­tors who dif­fered from Hol­ly­wood’s ide­alised im­age of beauty, she said. “If I sug­gest ac­tors or ac­tresses with un­usual looks, I have a much harder time get­ting them through than any­one else.”

She added: “It’s dif­fi­cult to talk about be­cause you don’t get a straight an­swer. You’re not go­ing to get a stu­dio head that says, ‘We don’t think this per­son is beau­ti­ful enough.’ You get all sorts of strange an­swers. But that is the rea­son. That is the one taboo which is very hard to over­come.”

She ac­cepts that most au­di­ence members enjoy beauty. “I’m em­brac­ing that,” she said. “But I do think that the world con­sists of many el­e­ments – and I don’t nec­es­sar­ily think that beauty is the only in­ter­est­ing thing.”

Bier, who is Dan­ish, won the Os­car for best for­eign lan­guage film for In a

Bet­ter World, about a doctor grap­pling with the hor­rors of a refugee camp and his own dis­in­te­grat­ing fam­ily.

Her lat­est film, a Net­flix pro­duc­tion re­leased in cinemas on 21 De­cem­ber, is Bird Box, a dystopian thriller star­ring San­dra Bul­lock with a con­tro­ver­sial de­pic­tion of moth­er­hood.

San­dra Bul­lock, left, and Su­sanne Bier at the Euro­pean pre­miere of Bird Box.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.